Video app TikTok considering London or Dublin for new headquarters

Edmund Heaphy
Finance and news reporter
TikTok-owner ByteDance is considering setting up a global headquarters for the app in Europe. Photo: Lionel Bonaventure/AFP via Getty Images

Senior executives at Chinese technology startup ByteDance are considering opening a global headquarters for the company’s hit video-sharing app TikTok in Singapore, London, or Dublin.

According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, the move would be part of the company’s efforts to separate TikTok from the rest of its Chinese operations as experts warn the app may represent a national security threat.

The move comes after reports that the startup is hoping to convince US authorities that the personal data of TikTok users — which has surged in popularity in the US — is stored safely in the US and cannot be accessed by the Chinese government.

While ByteDance has been discussing setting up a global headquarters for TikTok outside of China for several months, efforts to choose the location have been accelerated as a result of the scrutiny in the US, the Wall Street Journal reported.

While the company is considering a complete separation of TikTok’s operations from the rest of its business, ByteDance is also weighing the possibility of selling a majority stake in the app in order to protect its immense value.

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According to Bloomberg, selling a majority stake in the app could net ByteDance as much as $10bn (£7.5bn).

But the company would like to maintain full control of the business, which is why it is hoping that relocating its executives to a headquarters outside China would allay concerns.

Both London and Dublin are popular locations for technology giants.

Dublin is the European headquarters of the likes of Google, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, with its business-friendly environment and low corporate tax levels making it an attractive place to base a global company.

Meanwhile, many of the fastest-growing companies in Singapore are technology related.

ByteDance has already taken up two floors of office space in Singapore’s main business district, according to real estate consultancy Savills Singapore.